When I wrote ‘The Dizzy Waggle Who Lit the Dark’, I did it with the intention of teaching children about big feelings, and how they can use everyday tools such as movement, breathing exercises and mindfulness techniques to self-soothe and develop resilience. –Author Cloe Willetts
By Roger Childs
Cloe Willetts was into writing from an early age. From the time I could pick up a pen and string words together I loved to write. So it was logical that she would become a journalist and now a children’s author. Her first job was with the Kapiti News and she later moved to Auckland to write for magazines.
Now back in Paraparaumu Beach her writing talents are focused on the furry dizzy waggle creatures and her first book centres on Zozo who has a glowing heart.
Creating a children’s book always felt like a given to me, since I could rhyme like second nature and love getting lost in imagination and creativity.
A book designed to entertain and teach
Zozo’s glowing heart changes in colour and intensity representing different feelings and emotions. I wanted to create a fluffy adorable imaginative character rather than a child because I didn’t want gender, ethnicity and stuff like that.
However, Cloe also wrote the story to help kids cope with the ups and downs of growing up. The book covers emotions such as anxiety and anger, while incorporating themes of self-acceptance and the power of authenticity and empathy. So it is no surprise that like local children’s author Mandy Hager, Cloe is receiving feedback which indicates that young readers are getting positive messages from her writing.
The different age groups are taking away different things and the older kids are really grasping the use of weather as a metaphor for the ups and downs of emotions.
My hope is the book will plant a seed for kids around understanding and talking about emotions to help with New Zealand’s staggering youth mental illness and suicide statistics.
The Dizzy Waggle Who Lit the Dark is beautifully illustrated by Fabienne Joni Sopacua (FJS Art) who Cloe describes as being amazing. Fabienne is from Levin and really enjoyed being involved in the production. I loved the story and even cried at the end.
There is good news for the growing number of fans as lighting up the dark is just the beginning. I plan on doing a series of Dizzy Waggle books and already have another planned, and will look into funding options since they’re self-published.
This first book would make an ideal Christmas present for kids ranging from ages 2 to 10. It can be bought for $22.99 through www.thedizzywaggle.com.